By David Ärlemalm

A haunting page-turner from the dark side of a city, a love story of two parents, one living, one dead, and their child. When Sofia dies from an overdose Arto leaves his life as an addict behind in order to make a life for himself and his daughter Bodil. For some time, each step he takes is in the right direction – the direction of a normal life. But no road is straight nor easy, and even less so after being given a second chance. 

He gets fired after being falsely accused of selling drugs at the school where he works, and he is forced to earn his living in ways he knows from his past. As autumn turns into winter, Arto falls deeper and deeper into a web of lies, crime and violence, struggling to save himself and his daughter. David Ärlemalm’s debut novel A Little Death around the Eyes is a brutal and tender account of a life we hardly ever get to read about.

First published by Forum, 2020

Finland, WSOY
Norway, Aschehoug
Sweden, Forum

“The portrayal of the lonely father, former drug addict and car thief Arto, is as tender as it is brutal. Undeniably one of the best crime novels of 2020.”
– Ystad Allehanda

“The storytelling is quick and intense, the credibility high.”
-Nerikes Allehanda

“The downplayed writing is impressively effective. An ominous air colours Arto’s everyday life, making it oddly fascinating, as if Arto’s constant vigilance will crack eventually and disaster will follow. A father caught between the criminal world and normal society, threatened on both ends. The only glimpse of hope left is the love for his child.”
-Lotta Olsson,DN

“Ärlemalm’s debut novel is different [from crime fiction]. Instead of investigators, it portrays one man balancing a normal life and a criminal one, where the line between is sharp as a knife but still so easy to cross. An existentialist novel about the choices you make in life and how sometimes the only ones at hand are poor. The outset of a classical tragedy.”

A Little Death around the Eyes shows a raw and tender side of  Stockholm we rarely get to meet.”
– KalmarPosten

”A dark but tender, haunting and accurate story […]A Little Death around the Eyes actually caught me off guard. One of the first novels of the year, and, I dare say this already, one of the strongest. 5/5”

”The depiction of the fight to survive – being an ex-junkie in a judgmental and inhuman society – is strong, intense and convincing. It brought on an adrenaline rush, raised my pulse, made me hyperventilate.”

”David Ärlemalm has written a strong and deeply touching debut that goes outside the usual templates. 4/5”

“It is well-written, gripping, painfully credible and difficult to put down. […] A book a will remember for a long, long time.”
-Britt-Marie Kullin

“I have a hard time imagining that I will read a better book this year. I feel like it already peaked.”

“An excellent debut!”

“An unpredictable page-turner that goes straight to my heart.”

“I didn’t read this book, I lived it.”

“When I read the last pages my heart was beating so fast that it felt like an adrenaline rush… I will carry Arto and Bodil for a long time.”
-Vargnatts bokhylla

“Wow – the novel is deceptively simple with lots of dialogue, short sentences, and seemingly everything happening on the surface but you just know there is so much going on beneath it all. It doesn’t judge or make the reader to take sides. It’s a fast read although very hard at points: it reads as a sort of thriller and social commentary as well as a touching love story between a child and his father. I believe it’s something that people would want to and indeed should read.”
Leena Balme, WSOY

“An exceptionally good novel about a mans’ fight against society and against his own demons. With a scarce, precise and sensitive language the author portrays a father-daughter relationship I will never forget. It is thrilling, credible and gripping from the very first page.”
Vidar Strøm Fallrø, Aschehoug

”One of the best Swedish manuscripts I have come across during my 15 years in the industry”
John Häggblom, Forum

  ”A fantastic debut novel. Ärlemalm has mastered the art of writing a breathtaking page-turner that touches your very core. It’s realistic, affective and incredibly well-written.”
Stina Jackson, author